A new crop of academics join the Faculty
Ten new academic members joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences in 2022:
Alankrita Goswami joined the Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics as Assistant Professor in Supply Chain Disruption in Crop and Livestock Sector. Although her roots were in engineering, she began to explore rural management and agricultural economics during her pre-doctoral fellowship and completed her PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics. Alankrita seeks to develop a better understanding of agricultural systems through a variety of lenses, from socio-economic to policy, that can be leveraged to benefit the many stakeholders across the system.
Ella Morris joined the Department of Biosystems Engineering as Instructor I (Indigenous Scholar). Memories of coming to campus with her mother, who worked in the Price Faculty of Engineering, influenced her decision to study Mechanical Engineering. As a teacher, her goal is to help students succeed, and she will be helping the Department enhance Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the curriculum.
Harmeet Singh Chawla
Harmeet Singh Chawla joined the Department of Plant Science as Assistant Professor in Plant Genomics and Genetics. After his graduate program and post-doctoral work in Germany, he moved to Canada to work at the University of Saskatchewan Crop Development Centre. His interest in plant breeding came from his father, a maize breeder in India, and today he seeks to integrate genomic technology and bioinformatics to advance the UM oilseed breeding program.
Dilshan Benaragama joined the Department of Plant Science as an Assistant Professor and industry research chair in Crop Protection (Weed Science). Dilshan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and then moved to Canada to attend the University of Saskatchewan for his graduate degrees in weed science. Dilshan described how a fascination with wild plants led him to study weeds in hopes of developing integrated management strategies.
Leslie Redmond joined the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences as Assistant Professor in Food, Culture and Health. Leslie pursued her studies in the United States, and comes to us from the University of Alaska where she was an assistant professor in dietetics and nutrition. Leslie shared how a summer internship made her realize that she wanted to work directly with minoritized communities to help overcome barriers to good health and nutrition.
Joanne Thiessen Martens
Joanne Thiessen Martens joined the Department of Soil Science as Assistant Professor in Soil Chemistry and Fertility. Joanne was one of the first students to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology at the University of Manitoba, and just recently completed her PhD here. She is fascinated by interactions in the entire ecosystem, from soil microbes to the whole landscape.
Natasha Jacobson joined the Department of Biosystems Engineering (co-located in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the Price Faculty of Engineering) as Instructor II. She graduated with her PhD in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Manitoba, and has since had experiences ranging from sustainable building design to neurodegeneration research. Natasha instructs first year and fourth year students, and using hands-on, impactful design projects, hopes to help students discover where an engineering degree can lead them.
Afua Mante joined the Department of Soil Science as Assistant Professor in Soil Physical Processes. She was born and raised in Ghana, and moved to Manitoba to pursue her PhD and then postdoctoral work that looked at Indigenizing engineering education, as well as land remediation. Afua share with us her research and teaching goals, and shared a poem that describes how she has come to be a “Soilie”.
Dylan MacKay joined the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences as Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Chronic Diseases, with a cross appointment in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine – Section Endocrinology. He grew up in Newfoundland, and moved to Manitoba to pursue his PhD and then postdoctoral work in human nutrition. Dylan told us about his research and teaching goals, and how his own journey with diabetes has given him a unique perspective on his work.
Hooman Derakhshani joined the Department of Animal Science as Assistant Professor in Applied Animal Microbiology. He received his DVM in Iran, and then pursued his education in animal science in Australia and Canada, followed by a post-doctoral position at McMaster University. Hooman shared his research and teaching areas, and described how he plans to work on novel solutions to support sustainable farming and reducing the use of antimicrobials on farms.